We Were Soldiers

posted Jun 15, 2015, 12:51 PM by Bruce Gaughran   [ updated Jun 15, 2015, 12:54 PM ]

This weekend it was very hot, so I took the opportunity to stay indoors and watched some movies. Sunday I saw, "We Were Soldiers." for the second time This 2002 movie directed by Randall Wallace is based upon the Book, “We Were Soldiers Once … and Young,” by Lieutenant General (Ret.) Hal Moore and reporter Joseph L. Galloway, both of whom were at the Battle of Ia Drang in 1965. The movie has a strong cast including Mel Gibson, Madeleine Stowe and Sam Elliott, just to name a few.

I’ve seen this movie several times. I enjoyed the book and perhaps the movie more. Even though some of what was depicted in the movie wasn’t entirely accurate, the symbolism and spirit of the book was carried over and expressed well in the movie. What I especially liked was the tactical and philosophical perspectives of the opposing forces commanders. I felt the movie did a nice job of not painting either commander as bad or good. They were just seasoned professionals with a job to do.

Even more interesting are two background stories. One is about the politics surrounding this battle. The brass were concerned this first major publicized encounter not end up making the United States look bad. The second is about the wives and families awaiting the news of the battle and its losses. These moments where families are notified of the deaths of their loved ones is well directed. It shows a side of war that is too often downplayed, but very real and devastating.

Is the movie for everyone? No, but if you saw American Sniper, Flags of Our Fathers, or Platoon and liked them, you should see this movie. It does an excellent job of showing the ugly side of war.